chapter  4
Commodity Crop Supply Chains
Pages 29

In developing countries, small innovations can dramatically enhance the effi ciency and effectiveness with which farmers use resources, and spur growth in farming-related businesses. For example, a recent innovation in pulverizer technology has spurred the growth of several hundred new businesses in the Kieni and Ol-Kalou districts of Kenya. These machines shred forage materials — such as grass and legume hays; maize, sorghum and millet leaves; rice straw; teff, wheat, barley and oat stalks; and bean stems — into pieces a few millimeters in length. The small pieces are easier to transport, store and feed to ruminant animals. They also enhance feed intake and nutrient availability for ruminants by 30 % to 60 % and reduce farm waste. Consequently, these machines increase the profi tability of ruminant animal production for the farmers that use them. Not only has the technology contributed to farmer profi tability and an increase in farm service businesses (i.e., the shredders); local producers have begun to fabricate the machines, which will make it easier and cheaper for farmers to access the innovation in the future, a win-win for all. The technology is now spreading to dairy farmer associations in the Kiboga and Masaka districts of Uganda and the Rwamagana, Gatsibo and Nyagatare districts of Rwanda.